In April, Janet Roberson spoke at a Benicia Unified School District meeting, voicing her disagreement with its new sex-ed curriculum. One month later, she was fired from her real estate company.
The cancel mob is to blame.
“I’m the mom of an elementary schooler, a middle schooler, and a high schooler,” Roberson explains on her website, Benicia Freedom. She stays informed on what her children are learning in each of their schools, and was shocked to discover new policies that will require 10-year-olds to identify their pronouns and learn about puberty blockers, along with other age-inappropriate sexual topics.
Janet felt uncomfortable with this, so she spoke up at the next school board meeting. That’s when the harassment began. “Then the bullies in town began a campaign to destroy me,” she says.
Letters to the editor were printed in two local papers, the Benicia Herald and the Times Herald, calling Janet and her employer out by name, and falsely and maliciously labeling her as racist, homophobic, and transphobic. One bully, a Benicia resident named William “Billy” Innes, wrote some accusations that are too ugly to quote here.
The letters oozed with lies and vitriol, and the aftermath of their publishing was devastating for Janet’s real estate business. Notably, Mr. Innes has never met Janet, and has likely never visited her website, given the number of falsehoods in his letter. No one from either paper contacted Janet for a chance to defend her character. It was a complete and utter smear campaign.
Janet wrote a response to the articles. It wasn’t published by either paper, though you can read it here. Unlike Mr. Innes, she takes the high road, writing, “we can disagree and be neighbors without calling each other names.”
Still, the harassment escalated. At the end of April, the treasurer of the Progressive Democrats of Benicia contacted the corporate headquarters of Compass, Janet’s employer, threatening to publish defamatory statements about the company if action wasn’t taken.
Just a few days later, Janet was fired. Compass, a national real estate company, had crumbled under the pressure of a handful of local activists remarkably fast.
But if you think the cancel mob would leave Janet alone after ruining her ability to provide for her family, you’d be wrong. She continued to be the subject of the left-wing “Benicia Resist!” email chains and several hateful videos that were posted on the internet for the world to see. All this, because she was a mom who attended a school board meeting and had an opinion.
Despite the awful treatment Janet has endured, she believes everyone should speak their minds openly and respectfully. She urges parents to wholeheartedly reject bullies—not to be afraid of them, and not to be one. “Let’s be kind to each other and open to hearing opinions that may differ from our own,” Janet says.
“Had another parent stood up at that school board meeting and advocated for teaching the new sex-ed curriculum, I would never contact their place of employment to demand they be fired … I respect their right to have a different opinion. That is one of the greatest and most important freedoms we have as Americans.”